Those looking for a powerful editor with a huge variety of built-in resources and responsive technical support may be better off dropping some cash on a consumer video-editing program, like award winners Adobe Premiere Elements, CyberLink PowerDirector or Corel VideoStudio. However, first consider trying out software such as HitFilm Express 2017, VideoPad, DaVinci Resolve or VSDC, which offer all of the basics for free, and then purchasing additional features à la carte or simply upgrade as your experience and needs grow.
At Top Ten Reviews we’ve researched and tested the best video editing software for 14 years. Over the past year, our team of expert reviewers spent more than 155 hours making dozens of videos to evaluate, compare and rate each product. We evaluated, compared and rated each program. In the end, we picked CyberLink PowerDirector as the top choice. Its full array of tools will satisfy both the novice user and the veteran editor. It’s packed with many of the same tools found in professional video editing software. And its 99-track timeline gives you the flexibility to complete complex projects.
Tech support and documentation: One of the big distinctions between paid and free software is the level of documentation and tech support; paid software has more-explicit and -detailed documentation and guides than the free versions. That said, many software packages post instructional videos of the most popular features to YouTube, and more-complex free packages may offer extensive documentation.
There are tons of in-program effects such as transitions, titles, credits, captions and even included audio scores, meaning you won’t get held up at any step of your editing process. There are panning and shift capabilities, high-quality post-processing zoom, as well as a plethora of color filtering plugins to give you the look you’ll need, even if the raw footage isn’t quite there. You’ll have the ability to export your movies in up to 4K resolution, and the software even supports 360-degree video projects. It’s a great powerhouse for beginners.
For our speed comparison, we tested all of the Windows and cross-platform video editing software on an HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop running Windows 10 Home. The laptop's 64-bit Intel Core i5 processor, with a 5200U CPU, runs at 2.2 GHz on an Intel HD Graphics 5500 system and has 8GB of RAM. We tested iMovie on a MacBook Air (late 2013) with a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i7 processor, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and 8GB of RAM, and running macOS Sierra v. 10.12.1.
One of the things that can be a pain in the neck is that if you're working with a long video, and you want to give different types of effects to different parts of this video, then you have to cut out the parts of that same video you need to change, and later, you need to apply the type of effect you want to each of these pieces of videos separately, and then save them like different files. After all that, you need to join them together. It would be lovely that there was an option to achieve this without so much work.
If you are new to the video editing world, a free video editing software can be the best choice for you. Although most free video editors are feature limited, they are easy to use and can meet almost all of your basic video demands like cutting, trimming, cropping, or rotating. Our top 12 list focuses on the best free video editing software for Windows we could find, and it will give you a overview of what you can expect from each video editor.